Schlichter Seeks Retirement Benefits From NFL
Former NFL quarterback Art Schlichter, who famously gambled away a promising playing career, is suing the NFL Player Retirement Plan in an attempt to receive retirement benefits he claims to have earned during a season in which he was suspended for betting on sports. Schlichter’s argument is although he was suspended for the 1983 season, he remained contractually obligated to the Baltimore Colts and therefore he is entitled to have that season count towards his retirement benefits.
In his complaint, Schlichter alleges he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other brain injuries as a result of multiple concussions he sustained as a player. However, in order to gain eligibility for the NFL retirement plan, including pension and healthcare benefits, a player must be active for at least four years as a player in the league. Schlichter’s career spanned from 1982-1985, making it necessary for the 1983 season to count as “active” in order for him to receive retirement benefits from the NFL. The defense is arguing Schlichter was an inactive player while suspended, with no obligation to perform football playing services to the Colts, and therefore he is not eligible to receive benefits under the NFL’s retirement plan.
Schlichter has served multiple prison sentences for a gambling addiction which spiraled out of control and ended his career, leading him to steal from family and friends, write bad checks, and do whatever else it took to gather cash for his next bet. He is currently serving time in federal prison for a ticket fraud scheme which robbed victims of millions of dollars.